President Saakashvili said international recognition of the fact that Georgia’s two breakaway regions were under Russia’s occupation was stronger now than it was before the August war and from this point of view Georgia was “in much better condition” than before the war.
“We have not signed and our government will never sign – and our government is in place till 2013 [when Saakashvili’s second term in office expires] and I hope this course will continue after that too – any agreement, which will question even slightly Georgia’s territorial integrity,” he said on April 20.
He awarded chief of staff of the Georgian armed forces, Devi Chankotadze, and his deputy, Davit Nairashvili with St. George’s Victory Orders for their performances during the August war. Chankotadze was commander of the Georgian artillery and Nairashvili – the commander of the air forces during the August war.
“Not a single country has recognized results of Georgia’s occupation,” Saakashvili continued. “They [Russians] have failed to give [this occupation] any international legitimization; moreover, today, from the point of view of international de-legitimization in respect of both Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region we are in much better condition than we were a year ago. Why? Because it has been said very clearly for the first time that these are occupied territories and that the world will never tolerate de factor borders of these territories. But before August – and our diplomats remember it – this was always under doubt and there was always questions about it.”
“But today Europe has a very clear policy about it; China has a very clear policy about it - i.e. the entire Asia and the United States has very clear policy about it and it has been demonstrated in recent statements of the U.S. president. So in this regard we have made a step forward.”
“Of course 20% of our territory is occupied; of course our adversary builds military bases on our territory; of course it makes the future of our compatriots living there [in Abkhazia, South Ossetia] and of those hundreds of thousands of people who were displaced from there worse, but Georgia will get stronger, Georgia will get on its feet and Georgia will establish itself as a modern European state and in parallel to this we will not tolerate this occupation for a single day; not a single day will the occupant feel quiet and our peaceful, diplomatic struggle will continue in order to reverse result of this occupation,” Saakashvili said.
He also said that it had never been in Georgia’s interest “to have bad relations with Russia. It was not us, who crossed into the Russian territory.”
“When Russian politicians say: ‘we will not talk with these authorities of Georgia’ – some in Georgia may ask a question: ‘OK they won’t talk with these authorities and may be it would better if these authorities go?’ I want to remind you that they [Russians] disliked even more [Zviad] Gamsakhurdia [the late Georgian President] and disliked even more [ex-president Eduard] Shevardnadze. And if it is up to them to decide who should be in the Georgian government, I want to remind you that the last time when it was decided by Russia it was in the past, when the Georgian state did not exist and when Georgia was called Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia,” Saakashvili said.
“When Russian politicians say: ‘we want to have good relations with Georgia’ – I want to tell everyone who wants to believe it, to look thoroughly to maps which are being printed today in Russia. When they say: ‘we want good relations with Georgia’ – under Georgia they mean: Tbilisi, part of Kartli region; Kakheti; part of Imereti and maybe Racha-Lechkhumi as well. For them Georgia is not the same Georgia as it is for us and for rest of the world.”
As long as such stance persists in Russia, he continued, Georgia should be “extremely cautious” and should show “maximum restraint.”
“Our major goal is calmness and development,” he added.